It’s well known by now that E-commerce has grown quite a bit ever since its inception. When a consumer wants something, the first thing they’ll do is to research it online, and sometimes that leads to a purchase.
Online sales are projected to surpass £600 billion this year. This should come as no surprise, given the weight that ecommerce currently has in retail. Customers do not need to visit brick and mortar stores anymore; they can just search for their product online and buy it without having to leave their house.
However, this doesn’t mean that E-commerce does not come with its own set of challenges. From lack of customer’s trust, to high competition, there’s a lot in E-commerce management that’s not for the faint of heart. In this article, we’ll discuss these challenges and how to react to keep your business afloat.
Online identity verification
Cash-On-Delivery sales using invalid addresses or contact info can lead to high revenue losses. When a customer signs in to a ecommerce website, the company is unaware of the customer besides the information they have entered on the website.
This is easily solved by verifying the customer information through a few steps. First, you’ve got to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, like very large or expensive purchases, and identify fake numbers or addresses by checking if the zip code matches the state or city.
Whenever a customer signs up, send a confirmation email or text message to verify their phone number or email address. With Cash-On-Delivery purchases, you can place an automated call to dial out to the customer so they can validate the delivery address.
Cross-channel customer experience
The usual experience of a customer nowadays includes several touch-points. Customers may visit your website, contact a store, leave a message on your social media, or contact you through live-chat or messaging. Make sure your team has the right technology to handle this omnichannel experience correctly.
Enable your organisation to serve customers across all touch-points, channels, and journeys through visual engagement tools.
Find out which channels are more important to your customers. Your customer support should be able to contact customers through phone, email, live chat, video call, online help centres or in-app messaging. Integrate and optimise those channels, offering one-to-one interactions.
On the same note, you should maintain the context, keeping a user profile based on previous interactions with the same customer.
E-commerce is a very highly competitive environment. Other companies offer products and services which are similar to yours.In order to survive, you have to differentiate yourself with a reliable strategy. Make a thorough research of your competition’s tactics and strategy.
Focus on establishing a plan that will make you outshine your competition. Promote your products through blogging and social media. Invest in your web presence through promotional offers that will help you acquire customers.
Research into your best selling products and invest in them. Remove outdated products from your inventory. Your customer service can also make a difference: people value interactions with other people if they go above and beyond to offer them the best customer experience, so that’s always a good investment.
Improve your selling approach
Many people who work in E-commerce get stuck in their old ways and find it difficult to sell online. However, that’s the future way of doing business. To thrive in the current e-commerce environment, you need to tap into some insight about customer behaviour and buying patterns.
A common tactic is to offer products in places like Amazon or eBay. These websites already have a very large customer basis so pitching and branding your products becomes quite easy there.
On your website, it’s quite useful to segment users, which helps your e-commerce identify customers and communicate with them based on their customer journey, past conversations, geographical location, browsing behaviour, referral page, and much more data.
E-commerce companies should offer a personalised service, like free delivery or promo codes, which will in turn help them get more conversions. Anticipating customer needs helps you create a steady revenue.
Abandoned shopping carts
Even e-commerce behemoths aren’t immune to the damage that shopping cart abandonment causes. Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of coding and redesigning.
Turning your shopping process into an easy and streamlined one will help your shoppers and keep them from abandoning their virtual carts. Make sure there are no bugs in your shopping and payment process. Stay away from forms that take too long to fill in. Live chat solutions also help fight this issue.
Combine live chat with visitor segmentation in your website, and reach out to customers in every step of the way in case they need help. This will help you engage and solve the issues of customers who would otherwise abandon their carts and leave your website.
Even if you have the best website for your niche, without customer loyalty, your business is not going to last. Maintaining new customers is a huge effort. One of the reasons why this is particularly difficult in e-commerce is that the buyer and seller aren’t seeing each other, so people who buy through your website cannot rely on the senses they usually do when going to a brick and mortar store.
Through time and effort, you can compensate this. Through multiple transactions, your company will eventually build up this trust and loyalty.
You should make sure your customer is satisfied with the whole process, from buying to receiving his order. Displaying your address, phone number, pictures of staff, customer testimonials, and credibility badges on your website help build trust among your customers, and having a live chat feature allows your users to associate someone with their purchase.
Write blog posts in your website: they’ll show you’re knowledgeable about what you’re selling. To maintain customer loyalty, make your customer service perfect in every way.
Create loyalty programs with points that can only be used in your website. This will help you make sure you have returning customers, which is easier than getting new ones.
Product return and refunds
E-consumers worry a lot about return and refund policies; they will check your policies almost every time before making a purchase. Every time you get a return, whether due to dissatisfaction or a damaged product, your business suffers a heavy loss in shipment and reputation. You can try and prevent this, but return policies and refunding are also a big part of great customer service.
The best you can do is build a strong return policy and write it in a clear way, accessible to every customer. Do not use complicated expressions, every customer must be able to know about your policies with having to deal with legal lingo.
Draw a very specific outline about what your customers must expect from you. Offer different payment and shipping options. Train your staff so they know how to respond accordingly.
Be prepared to pay for your mistakes. If there is a need for a return and refund, do all it takes to keep your customer satisfied with your company so they’ll want to buy from you again.
Competition of price and shipping
E-commerce has a strong competition based on price. A lot of online stores sell the same product, so there must be some advantage for your customers to buy from you.
Price competition typically affects mostly the small e-commerce stores, since it is much easier for large online retailers to offer the lowest prices.
Shipping is also important. Your customers except their products to arrive as soon as possible. So, how can you do this? Distribute your products across several warehouses in the country so your product will arrive earlier to its destination.
Be resourceful in your shipping, and get unique products that can’t be found elsewhere. Every online shopper expects fast delivery, but if your product is unique it is much easier to keep your customers waiting for a bit longer if nobody else is selling the same product.
Retailers and manufacturers
Plenty of online stores buy their products in bulk from manufacturers or distributors, selling them with online retail. This is a very common business model.
However, with such a low bar for entry in the e-commerce business, some product manufacturers and retailers start selling directly to consumers. The same company that provides you with products might be selling to customers as well.
What can you do to fight this? You can’t always forbid your manufacturers from selling to customers directly, but you can pick your manufacturers well. Choose the ones who are less likely to sell directly to customers. To increase your sales, offer your product at a low price or with additional benefits.
With some manufacturers, you can keep them from sell directly to customers by stating this in your contract. It’s not always possible, but do it when you can.
Security issues can lead to really uncomfortable situations for your business. Through spam, con men attack your web host server, infecting the websites with viruses. Fraudsters can even gain access to your contact and credit card information from customers. How can you prevent this?
First of all, manage your own servers. This will help prevent security breaches. Do not use common FTP to transfer files.
E-commerce competition is fierce and well alive. In order to make your company survive, you’ll have to keep the right people in your team who will know about everything we explain in this article. Look out for ecommerce recruitment specialists who will make your team better.
Ecommerce recruitment in Europe is not easy, but with the right help, you’ll be able to find people who are willing to go the extra mile to pamper your customers and keep your online store safe.